Trust the Lord when life gets tough

UntitledTonight, at church, we are hosting a parents’ night out which means that we get the kiddos. We have over 80 kids signed up. The program is called Kids’ Jams. I am excited. We have a fun night planned. We are going to study Habakkuk.

What do you do when bad things happen? Some people blame God. Others lose hope. While still others try to “fix” the situation. What if none of those help, then what do you do? Habakkuk has the answer for us. Continue reading

Paul making disciples in Rome

fullsizerender-copyOver the past month, we have been taking a detailed look at the life and ministry of the Apostle Paul. It has been eye opening to “walk in Paul’s shoes” as he makes disciples among the Gentiles. We discovered that Paul had a plan on how to make disciples every where he went. If you have not been following the series, take a look at the following articles.

Continue reading

The teachings of the Pharisees vs. The teachings of Christ

phariseesI am so excited about being able to teach this chapter of Scripture this coming Monday to my preschool teachers. We have already walked through 7 chapters of the Gospel of Mark. It has been life changing to experience the life and ministry of our Lord, Jesus Christ. I just think that it is so neat for people who have been in church for most of their lives jump into the Gospel passages and study them inductively for the first time. If you know me, you know that I love to study and teach the Bible inductively. I believe it is the Biblical way. We see the idea of questions being asked by the teacher and students responding to those questions with the Biblical text. The best example is the Apostle Paul. In his epistles, he asks questions and then anticipates the answer, or, he gives the Biblical answer and then anticipates your next question based on the previous, Biblical answer. We also see this method used by him in Acts. The verb “to reason” from the Scriptures is used 10 different times in Acts. In order to understand this concept, we must understand the meaning of the verb “to reason” as used in the Biblical text. It means to converse in the form of question and answer. The teacher asks the questions and the students respond with answers from the text. This is not a lecture or a sermon. This is not an argument over the meaning of words and phrases. This is a form of inductive Bible study, a method that means “going into the text to find the answers”. This method places the speaker and the audience under the authority of the text. Now that we chased that little rabbit, let’s move our attention back to Mark 8 and see what we can discover. But, before we begin, if you have not been following the series, you can read the previous lessons here: Continue reading

Paul’s Plan to make disciples

time-management-imageI love to study and teach on the vibrant life and ministry of the Apostle Paul. He was a man who brought the Gospel to the Gentiles. I am a benefactor of his life and ministry. Paul was a disciple making machine and I want to examine his methods to see what I can learn from him about ministry and fulfilling the Great Commission of making disciples over the course of my lifetime.  Continue reading

Paul making disciples in Miletus

paul_ephesian_disciplesWe have been following Paul as he lives a life on mission, seeking to fulfill the calling of Christ to make disciples. Our journey has been awesome. We first met Saul the bully in Acts 7-9. Then, we see Saul encountering Jesus Christ and being born again. Saul marks this event in his life by changing his name to Paul. This is an outward sign of an inward, spiritual reality. Then, Paul is trained by Jesus Christ. He begins to minister in the local church. While ministering in the local church, God calls him and Barnabas to go out to the Gentiles and make disciples. This begins his first missionary journey. After the first trip of making many disciples, churches were formed and Paul and Barnabas return to the local church and give testimony of what the Lord is doing among the Gentiles and Jews. A couple of weeks ago, we began to look at the second missionary journey. Paul and Barnabas go out again and begin to make more disciples. More churches are formed as a result of making disciples. A church is formed in Philippi. Then, another church is formed in Thessalonica and yet another in Berea. All of this happens in the midst of heavy persecution. Paul would gather people together and reason from the Scriptures. People would repent, believe in Jesus Christ, and be equipped to serve the local church and make more disciples among their own people, both Jews and Gentiles. This week, we are going to journey with Paul on his third missionary journey. We pick up the story in Acts 20. Continue reading

The church plant in Philippi

1I am getting ready to teach our kids this coming Sunday about the Apostle Paul’s Second missionary journey. Part of that journey included a church plant in the city of Philippi. As we saw when Paul was on his first missionary trip, he did not set out to plant churches. He was called by God to go and make disciples. The churches were formed as a result of people being discipled. This is the model for church planting. The modern approach is exactly backwards. We seek to plant churches and then disciple people once they become part of the church. Our modern form of church has much to learn from the Biblical approach. There are many areas where we are far from the Bible in our approach to modern ministry.  Continue reading

Choosing a marriage partner

coppia di fediLast night, I was blessed to listen to a sermon preached by my mentor, Vasile Filat. I first heard this message about 11 years ago when I was living in Moldova, learning how to be a missionary. He preached it again a few days ago at a church in Bucharest Romania. Someone was gracious enough to film it and put it online. As I listened last night, I was blessed once again by the message and I was also blessed with memories from my time in Moldova. I would like to share the message with you here and I hope that you will be as blessed as I was.

Choosing a marriage partner is one of the major choices that we all want to make in this life. We generally go through years of schooling to get trained for life yet, this aspect is often neglected. Is there a plan laid out in the Word of God for choosing a marriage partner? Do I just need to hope that I get “lucky” and pick the right one? Am I at the whims and desires of my deceitfully, wicked heart? We say things like, “the heart wants what it wants and I cannot stop it. Besides, you cannot control who you fall in love with”. Let’s take a look at a love story in Genesis 24, the story of Isaac and Rebecka. There are 10 principles that we can learn from this passage about choosing a marriage partner. Continue reading

Striving to live a disciplined life

disciplineIt has been a lot of fun teaching through II Thessalonians. I have taught this book many times and, each time I teach through it, I learn new things about God and new things about myself.

If you have been following this series, you are aware of the previous lessons and what they teach. If you have not been following the series, take a moment to play a little catch up by reading the following articles.

  1. The importance of communication
  2. Genuine faith endures persecution
  3. Concerning the Day of the Lord
  4. The Church and the Day of the Lord 
  5. Praying for your disciples

The previous lesson focused on prayer, specifically, praying for your disciples, that they would grow in their knowledge of the Word of God, that they would grow in their faith, that they would grow in their love, and that they would continue making more disciples.  Continue reading

Appreciate your spiritual leaders

thank-you-card-lettering-leo-gomezI just listened to a wonderful sermon preached by my mentor, Vasile Filat. I am currently listening to it again so that I can translate it into English for this article so that you can be blessed by it the way that I was.

How much do you appreciate your spiritual leaders? Do you have spiritual leaders/mentors? God has orchestrated the Christian life to be one of a person having a mentor, being  a mentee, and then becoming a mentor while still being mentored. This process is laid out for us in Matthew 28. We see it explained by the Apostle Paul in II Timothy 2:2. Paul was mentored by Jesus. Paul mentors Timothy. As Timothy is being mentored, he begins to mentor others. Those whom Timothy mentors begin to mentor others. Jesus –> Paul –> Timothy –> new disciples –> their disciples. Unfortunately, there are many in the church who have never experienced God’s amazing plan of being discipled. Even if you do not have a direct mentor, you have a spiritual leader if you are part of a local church. Paul explains this in Ephesians 4. The spiritual leaders pour into the lives of the members and the members serve one another and together, reach out to the community to make disciples. Continue reading

Paul’s Missionary Journey

fullsizerenderThis coming Sunday we are going to learn about Paul’s first missionary Journey in Acts 14. I am excited for our kids because they are learning to discover the Truth of the Word of God for themselves. The valuable, basic Bible study tools that they are learning will stick with them for the rest of their lives and equip them to be able to open God’s Word at any time and hear directly from Him. Over the past month, we have covered Acts 4, Acts 8, Acts 9, and Acts 10. It has been neat to see how the Lord has worked in and through the lives of His disciples. He has given each of His followers the gift of the Holy Spirit and told them to be witnesses everywhere they find themselves. We saw Peter and John do this in Acts 4. We saw Philip do this in Acts 8. Paul began to do it once he encountered Christ and was born again. We ran in to Peter once again in Acts 10 when he shares the Gospel with Cornelius and a house full of Gentiles. Now, we are going to shift our focus to Paul and his missionary journeys.  Continue reading